I’m pretty sure I shared these words last week … I’m tired of talking about cancer.
Now, don’t run off just yet, there’s a lesson here and I’m certain it applies to more than the person affected by cancer. Please, stay with me.
The funny thing about cancer is if you’re paying attention, I mean really being “woke” through your journey, you find yourself constantly learning.
As I opened my laptop to pen this piece, an interesting similarity crossed my mind.
It’s sort of how I often say, “I’m so over social media.” For the most part that statement is undeniably true. During my time off of work in 2020, I deactivated my accounts and it was absolutely lovely. Yet the days of “calling the paper” with news or human interest stories are far behind us and well, social media helps me see a lot more of our community from a birds-eye view.
So just as I tire of social media, I tire of talking about cancer, until – BAM – a lesson and the urge to share.
Early on into my diagnosis a very strong feeling overcame my mother as well as myself that this path I was placed on was bigger than overcoming a disease. I fell into this job (quite literally) 19 years ago this month. Since that time while much has changed, I recognize our reach now is bigger than ever before. If I were to turn my back on openly sharing a few of these lessons, personally I feel as if I’d be doing a disservice to the gift which is my life, as well as the craft I have been gifted with that is also my career.
As I type this, I have a few friends walking a similar path to mine, their diagnosis just months off from mine. Pivotal difference, they’re battling quietly, privately with their families and close friends. I envy that.
Not to be misunderstood, I share this with free will. Neither my editor nor our publisher has placed any pressure for me to use these pages or the 209 to share my journey. In fairness, the piece I envy is the normalcy one is able to maintain with the outside world. The topic of cancer never finding its way into conversation.
At home now we have doctor updates, mom needs a nap and really that’s about it. There is a lot more going on in our lives than cancer and while it may seem as if it should be the hub of the wheel in this moment, I’d rather it not.
That all being said, there’s some true ‘ah ha’ good stuff coming from all of this and it’s exactly what prompted me to throw open the laptop in the middle of the weekend and start typing.
Currently I’m undergoing traditional treatment. From the day I heard the words via FaceTime “it’s cancer,” I was full speed ahead. During the journey however, I’ve also done my fair share of reading, as well as incorporating alternative approaches into my plan.
Alternative can mean a lot of things to many people. For some that may read as a hippy doctor approach, I prefer to think of it as educating myself on things traditional medicine may not cover. An example of this came years ago as a friend battled and drastically altered his diet. Apparently tumors grow from simple sugar; if you have cancer sugar is really not your friend. News to me, but bye bye sugar.
Ironically or maybe not, prior to my diagnosis I learned a lot through work assignments, as well as my time spent in the teachings of yoga, about the way in which the body holds energy. Since my diagnosis, I’ve also worked closely with a friend and trained professional on releasing some toxic energy to help rid my body of the disease.
Again, all while going through traditional treatment. As I told my mom in the beginning, certainly can’t hurt to include other approaches. Have I mentioned I also happen to be Stage 3? For those unfamiliar with the cancer world, there is no Stage 5 and I have no aspirations of reaching Stage 4, so trying everything seems to be the best thing to work in my favor.
This next bit is really for everyone, not just the cancer patient.
We all must slow down. I mean really slow down.
Truth be told, there are medical studies which show everyone has the cancer gene sitting dormant in their bodies. The difference between me and everyone else is; mine woke up. The type of breast cancer I have is not genetic.
Prior to my diagnosis I thought I had mastered the “slow down,” looking back was I ever wrong.
Nothing in this world is more important than our health. I know I’ve preached this a million times, often from the eating well and fitness perspective.
The real eye opener however is in the slow down. Here’s the thing, we can run ourselves ragged to do all the things and complain about needing more hours in the day until the cows come home. If we aren’t taking time for self-care and rest, we are increasing our risk of numerous diseases and that’s not a fun way to be taught how to slow down. I promise you that.
This column space is titled Mommy Musings for reason. As a mommy, I get it. I truly never saw this coming, but who does?
We’ve all lived the COVID-19 life. We all know the shut down, slow down, take a breath life now – build from that.
As the world begins to re-open, resist the urge to overbook, create stress and fall short of hours in your day. We need those hours. We need them for those we love, for rest, for wellness … be well.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.